Migrating a Aperture Library to Lightroom 5

I decided to migrate my entire Austin Healey Car library over to Lightroom 5. The first step was to export all “my picks” as PSD files, that way I at least had an edited version.  I bet at first you are thinking, holy crap that’s a bunch of hard drive space.  Yes, it is and get over it.  Drives are cheap, you can pick up a 2TB drive for under $130.00.  Each PSD file was anywhere from 50mb to 100mb depending if it was an iPhone or Nikon D7000 photo, of course you file size will vary.  Remember you are only exporting your picks not every photo.

Here is the plan of attack.

  • Backup
  • Export edited files to PSD to retain the edits.
  • Export all the originals / masters to a holding space
  • Import the exported original / masters to their new location in Lightroom.
  • I will be using the closest thing to a managed library in lightroom.  I like the fact that Aperture keeps everything nice and neat for me.  I will be treating my lightroom project folder as untouchable by finder, I don’t want to screw it up.

Migration process: (Quick and Dirty)

  1. Start Lightroom 5
  2. From the File menu select New Catalog
    Note: Catalog in Lightroom = Library in Aperture
  3. I put my catalog in the root of photos and called it Lightroom – AustinHealeySprite
  4. Pick Library from the upper right area of the screen.
  5. Close Lightroom
  6. Open Aperture
  7. Export all your or originals to a holding place.
  8. Click on Photos in the library tab
  9. Click on the first photo and press Command-A to select them all
  10. Pick File -> Export -> Originals
  11. Create a folder inside the folder catalog folder you created in step 3 called Photos
  12. Subfolder format: Project Name
  13. Name format: Original Filename
    Metadata: Don’t Include IPTC data.
    If you have audio notes export them as well.
  14. Drink beer.
  15. Go back to Lightroom
  16. From the Library Menu pick synchronize folder…
  17. Select all the options
  18. Get a beer, to celebrate.
  19. Repete step 19 until you can’t see anymore

Although you may think that 19 steps is a bunch of steps, it’s not.  I just did this method once more to test, and it worked perfectly.  Your next step is to bring in your PSD files and you are done.

Migration Process: (if you have keywording and such you want to keep)

  1. First make sure you have a good backup.
  2. Check you backup again.
  3. Open the Aperture Library you wish to migrate.
  4. Check the vault and make sure its updated.
    Note: If you screw up your backup or loose anyting don’t blame me. Remember this is free advice and you get what you pay for. 
  5. Export all your picks to PSD onto your scratch disk.  I put a star rating on my picks so I used the built in 1 star or better smart album in Aperture and selected them all.
    1. Click on 1 start of better under albums
    2. Click on the first photo then press command -A to select them all
    3. Pick File -> Export -> Versions
    4. Exported them as PSD – Original Size (16-bit)
    5. Tell Aperture to create a subfolder for each project name.
    6. Use the current version name for the filename of the PSD file.
  6. Export all your or originals to a holding place.
    1. Click on Photos in the library tab
    2. Click on the first photo and press Command-A to select them all
    3. Pick File -> Export -> Originals
    4. Tell it where you want to export the photos to
    5. Subfolder format: Project Name
    6. Name format: Original Filename
    7. Metadata: Create IPTC 4xmp Sidecar File
      You don’t want to change your master file by adding IPTC data to it.
    8. If you have audio notes export them as well.
    9. Get a beer, to celebrate.
    10. Drink beer.
    11. Get another if the library is large and you disk is slow, repeat as necessary.

Now that we have all the originals somewhere where we can import them its time to begin.

The Import pane or window is a little bit different in lightroom than in Aperture.  You want to work from Left to Right in Lightroom.

  1. Start Lightroom 5
  2. From the File menu select New Catalog
    Catalog in Lightroom = Library in Aperture
  3. I put my catalog in the root of photos and called it Lightroom – AustinHealeySprite
  4. Pick Library from the upper right area of the screen.
  5. Pick Import from the lower left of the screen
  6. Starting from the Left select the folder that you exported them too and make sure that Include Subfolders is checked
  7. In the upper middle pick Move, if you want to live on the edge, or pick Copy if you think you are going to screw it up.  I picked Move.  In hindsight I am glad I picked move because the import locked up and I was able to start over where it left off.  I was also able to find the photo that was causing the import not to work and remove that photo from the import.
  8. In the Right side of the screen select the following:
    1. Build smart previews
    2. Don’t import suspected duplicates
    3. into subfolder (unchecked)
  9. Pick Import.  The import status will be up at the upper left.
    1. Organize: By Original Folders
      That way you keep your old project names
    2. Select the folder of the same name as your Lightroom Catalog.
    3. Pick Import.
  10. Wait.

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